How I stopped following the herd

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

It only took me a little over 2.5 years; but better late than never, right?

Those of you who’ve been reading my posts here on Medium know my stance on why I don’t recommend blog hopping anymore.

But a lot of you may not know that I also stopped following a lot of ‘best practices’ in my niche: making money through digital marketing/income generation through one’s blog.

In 2018, March, I did what most people did when they’d decided to branch out into using their blog as a revenue generation model. I signed up for newsletters and followed the experts.

In particular, I followed the ones who talked about making loads of money from their blogs, the ones who spoke about getting tons of traffic from search engines and social media and the ones who insisted that sales funnels were the key to money at the end of the mythical rainbow.

What I hadn’t bargained for was what I’d get in return: messages from people who’d end up making me feel that I wasn’t worth anything if I didn’t make enough money to show for all my effort.

And that’s what ended up happening; the more I subscribed to the idea of chasing money, the more elusive it seemed.

I was always on the back foot when it came to understanding how to ‘crack’ the ceiling of page views one needed to get into a premium ad network.

Every time someone sent me a mail telling me that they’d earned $40k that month, my heart would sign inwardly while glancing at my monthly earnings that maybe totaled $70 (if that).

And I was always made to feel that I was wrong- for not hustling enough, for not working hard enough, for not doing ALL the right things. Because clearly I was doing it wrong! I mean, people in my niche were making SERIOUS money whereas here I was, squirming at the idea of telling people how much I was able to make.

This wasn’t healthy for me; none of it was. It was time to make a change.

What changed

Come June of 2020 and I’d had enough. I went on an unsubscribing spree, removing myself from lists that made me feel less than valuable.

Additionally, I left Facebook groups where I was always cheering for people’s wins (page views and income goals) outwardly while stewing in envy within.

I stopped reading blog posts, articles and books that told me that hustling was the way to achieve a financially fulfilling life.

And I stopped following people who promoted one or more of these ideas through their work.

I found George Kao, serendipitously enough through an article that a friend of mine sent me.

And somehow, almost overnight, the cogs in my brain turned and clicked into place. This was what I’d been searching for all along.

To market my work and my business from a space of authenticity while connecting deeply with my audience and making a sustainable income from doing the work that I truly enjoyed

I learnt to tap into that feeling of precious joy when creating content for its own sake.

I learnt to let go of looking at daily stats and analytics on my content and breathed in the joy of writing something and releasing it into the world.

I learnt to listen deeply to what my audience wanted and created a course and many workshops that would help them align with their highest purpose.

Today, I actually work on what I want to do while finding enough time to do various other things that I enjoy- meditating, reading, walking, writing and even cooking something with a great deal of satisfaction.

Following the herd may make you believe that it is the path to success.

But the true path to success is one that you carve out on your own and follow from a space of love and gratitude.

I talk more about blogging, social media, productivity and habit building over on my blog. If newsletters are more your thing, sign up for my free Friday newsletter here.

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Shailaja V

Shailaja V

Digital minimalist. Writer. Bibliophile. Coach: I teach creators how to grow an organic audience without the overwhelm. More about me: www.shailajav.com